me, myself & andrei

16 Aug 2009
Studera.nu National Admissions to Higher Studies in Sweden

Introduction

History

In 2008, while finishing my Bachelors in [[wikipedia:Romania Romania]], I applied to Master programmes in [[wikipedia:Sweden Sweden]]. The process lacked (still lacks?!) crucial information and relied on a lot of assumptions regarding the process.

At first, I wrote a blogpost. Then a mass of comments flooded the blogpost :) Quite unexpectedly there has been a lot of interest, and comments have been flowing from people wanting to study in Sweden as you can see by looking at the PDF transcripts of the posts and comments: [http://files.andreineculau.com/projects/studera.nu/andrie-studera.pdf Page 1], [http://files.andreineculau.com/projects/studera.nu/andrie-studera2.pdf Page 2], [http://files.andreineculau.com/projects/studera.nu/andrie-studera3.pdf Page 3] (Please read the contents of the wiki, if you want to have up-to-date information, and not the contents of these transcripts!).

The quick conclusion, later confirmed over and over again, was that I wasn’t the only one in the dark. On the contrary, I have been able to put a little bit of light into the matter. How much is “a bit” is for everyone to decide.

I am now (n.r. 2008-2010) a Masters student at [[wikipedia:KTH The Royal Institute of Technology]], in the “Engineering and Management of Information Systems” programme. While I believe this resource is useful, it was impossible for me to maintain it. Thus, at the end of 2008, I have launched a wiki platform that allows people to contribute on their own, and keep this resource updated.

Basic Reasoning

It is my personal belief that http://www.studera.nu/ , administered by the [[wikipedia:Swedish_National_Agency_for_Higher_Education Swedish National Agency for Higher Education]], was and still is a project that has nothing to do with user-feedback. It’s a one-way system that improves by assessing internal needs. Why do I mention internal needs? Because at the end of 2008, the website has had a face lift, but missed once again, among others, the crucial information that turned my quest into a community: an address for express couriers like [[wikipedia:DHL DHL]], [[wikipedia:FedEx FedEx]], [[wikipedia:United_Parcel_Service UPS]], etc. At this moment (2008-12-02), studera.nu still provides applicants only with a P.O.Box that cannot be used by express couriers.

And still - there is no live Knowledge Base or FAQ, there is no proper way to contact them in a timely manner, messages are rarely replied and that doesn’t happen in a timely manner, etc. All of that to the disatisfaction of applicants that expect more from a country like Sweden. All in all, there doesn’t look like there’s a real intention of improving in small steps, let alone big steps. Not to mention, this is a crappy situation for Swedish universities as well, which need to assist applicants through their secretary. The whole system was put in place to take away the burden of application administration in the first place..

On a voluntary basis, along with the community, I tried/try to fill in the gaps as much as possible, for both the sake of applicants and Swedish universities.

Timeline

First there was a “‘blogpost”’.

From a blogpost to “‘a blogorum”’ :) (blog+forum; nicknamed by the small and nice community),
from a blogorum community to “‘a Facebook community”’ of over 1000 members,
from a blogorum to “‘a series of posts”’ (application, pre-admission, admission, etc.),
from a series of posts to “‘a wiki”’ (which allows for community contributions).

All happening in 1 year (2007-12-01 - 2008-12-01).

Scope

This collection of articles focuses on the application process to Masters since this is my factual experience, but the process for getting into undergraduate studies or apply for individual courses is very similar.

Disclaimer

A great deal of energy, time and care has been put into this piece of documentation. Despite that, you should rely first on the information available on [http://studera.nu studera.nu] and only then on the present writings. Not to mention, be smart and make use of general common sense!

Abbreviations, Synonyms, ..

{| class=”wikitable”
|-
! Bachelors/[[wikipedia:Bachelor’s_degree|Bachelor studies]]
| Basic/Undergrad/Undergraduate studies
|-
! Masters/[[wikipedia:Master’s_degree|Master studies]]
| Advanced/Grad/Graduate studies
|-
! VHS
| The National Admissions Office
Verket för högskoleservice (Swedish)
|-
! SI
| [[wikipedia:Swedish_Institute|Swedish Institute]]
|-
! Notarius Publicus/[[wikipedia:Notary_Public|Notary Public]]
| Office that certifies copies are as the original documents
|-
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|}

Content

During my application and my admission process, I have written, re-written and re-written 3 articles. They are mainly targeting the application, the pre-admission and the post-admission periods. “‘The wise thing to do is to carefully read them all before applying.”’ Print them and enjoy a cup of coffee. Or two cups. Make it three just to be sure ;)

“‘The [[:Studera.nu Application]] period”’, nicknamed The War, gives a perspective on what needs to be done in order to make a smart choice of your desired programmes, what scholarships are commonly available to admitted applicants, what documents you need to prepare and how to send them.

“‘The [[:Studera.nu Pre-Admission]] period”’, nicknamed The Purgatory, takes you through the nail-biting period of not knowing what to expect. Admission codes, and scenarios are being fully described.

“‘The [[:Studera.nu Admission]] period”’, nicknamed The Aftermath, is all about the things you need to take care once you got admitted, and you prepare for Sweden. It is the pocket-tutorial of things you must do if you want to get your admitted-student position become a student position.

Once you have read all of these, if you still have unanswered questions, then please check the [http://kb.andreineculau.com/category/studeranu Frequently Asked Questions] as well.

In July 2009, an “operational status blog” has been launched - http://vhsdriftinfo.wordpress.com/ . During your admission, make sure you check it.

Side talk

In 2008, [[Studera.nu Community a nice community]] has built around the admission process to higher studies in Sweden. You can easily [[Studera.nu Community join the community]] on Facebook. You will not only find it useful, but you will be able to build some nice relationships with your future colleagues.

[[Category:Projects]] [[Category:Studera.nu]]


Andrei